A thoughtful approach to widespread solar energy that omits some practicalities but delivers a realistic vision of a better...



A writer offers a proposal for combating both climate change and economic inequality through solar energy.

Stayton (Power Shift, 2015) presents an aspirational guide to saving the world through the extensive adoption of solar power and other forms of renewable energy combined with automatic dividend payments. The dividends would convert the profits from the sale of energy into an unconditional basic income. The enthusiastic book is divided into two parts. The first section is written from the perspective of a person in the year 2099 explaining how the solar-driven system has transformed the world. The second returns to the present to examine how the strategy could be implemented. The 2099 narrator, who is not named, reveals that “my parents…took the extra step of registering me for my standard solar energy array” at birth. The narrator then explains the mechanics of being entitled to a lifetime of monthly payments from the earnings of a cooperatively managed array. The disbursements make government welfare programs unnecessary; the solar panels spark economic expansion (“Solar acts like a local oil well for generating growth”); everyone is more physically and financially secure; and carbon emissions drop substantially. After exploring the future, the author provides a detailed and comprehensive framework for the political, technological, and practical changes necessary to make the solar regime feasible, from infrared-opaque panels that allow arrays to work on farmland to the cooperatives that manage and maintain the equipment and distribute the dividends. Although the book’s premise is utopian, Stayton supplies a painstaking and largely plausible road map for achieving it. In this plan, the increased costs of fossil fuels make higher-priced solar energy viable. The “solar profit margin” is a panacea, and the author explains how its cyclical impacts become self-sustaining once they have been established. The question of how to attain the structural changes necessary to create a solar energy system (“We can accomplish all this without Draconian laws, massive ‘moonshot’ tax expenditures, political movements, or revolution”) is largely glossed over. (“Step 1: convince government bodies that regulate utility rates to establish a high buy-back price”; “That change requires political will to overcome the resistance from vested interests and conventional economists who insist that energy prices must remain low.”) While this is an understandable omission, it is also the volume’s one substantial weakness. But aside from that, the book is thorough in elucidating both the logic and mechanics of the system, with a substantial and well-researched discussion of basic incomes and a compelling argument in favor of higher energy prices (“Since low energy prices are holding back the transition to clean energy, it’s time to reexamine that conventional wisdom”). In addition, Stayton includes an appendix that dives into the numbers in order to prove that the system is physically possible and economically effective (“If we can get 25% of our energy from wind and hydropower, and if we install about 10 kilowatts of PV panels for each person on the planet, then we can meet all of our adjusted energy needs in the future”).

A thoughtful approach to widespread solar energy that omits some practicalities but delivers a realistic vision of a better world.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9904792-3-9

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Sandstone Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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